With the compliments of the
Societe Historique Franco • Americaine
Manchester, N. H.
L'AVENIR NATIONAL PUBLISHING CO.
THE CHINESE OF THE
November 19, 1924
As indicated above, the following correspondence, to-
gether with the original communication of the writer to
America, was published in full in L'Avenir National of Man-
chester, N. H., one of the oldest French dailies in New
England. In reprinting these documents in pamphlet form
for general distribution among the public libraries, colleges,
and universities of our country, the Societe historique franco-
americaine — whose motto is "Lux et Veritas" — hopes to
counteract in some slight measure the pernicious propaganda
which appears to have reached its culminating point in the
article "Fifty-fifty Americans" by Robert C. Dexter in the
August (1924) World's Work.
Boston, Mass., October 28, 1924.
To the Editor of AMERICA:
Reverend Dear Sir:
I trust that I am not imposing upon your good nature
by requesting that you publish the enclosed communication
in an early issue of AMERICA, although it will take con-
It seems hardly possible that your contributor could
have read the Dexter article in extenso before writing his
own article, or he would readily have seen the animus behind
Your own action in seemingly indorsing the Dexter
article by publishing the unfortunate Benedik comments has
been severely condemned, notably by "La Sentinelle" of
Woonsocket, R. I. and "La Semaine paroissiale" published by
the Dominican Fathers at Fall River, Mass.
I believe that the publication of my rejoinder will serve
two purposes: firstly of proving that your review does not
wittingly encourage the many busybodies who are constant-
ly endeavoring to stir up trouble and bad feeling between
the various racial elements that form the Catholic Church in
this country; secondly of demonstrating once for all time
that the epithet "Chinese of the East" bestowed upon the
French-Canadians forty years ago was not deserved at that
time, and is still less so at this date.
Yours very truly,
J. ARTHUR FAVREAU.
National Catholic Weekly,
Thirty-nine West Eighty-Sixth Street,
November 5, 1924.
Mr. J. Arthur Favreau,
29 Harrison Avenue Extension,
I beg to thank you for your letter under date of October
28. I am especially grateful to you for the courtesy, verbal
and otherwise, that characterizes your communication. When
my attention was called to the expression to which you take
exception, last Tuesday, October 28, I wrote an apology and
sent it to the printer to be inserted in the first possible issue
of AMERICA, Nov. 8. This apology you yourself can read
in the current issue of our paper.
I am frank to confess that the words that gave offense
entirely escaped my notice. Why, I do not know, for I am
generally very alert to prevent anything that would hurt the
feelings of any class of people.
Now as to your letter. Do you realize, I wonder, that it is
about 3000 words in length or more : that is, it contains 2400
words more than is ordinarily allowed a letter, and 1500
words more than is allowed an ordinary article. Moreover,
it would, no doubt, provoke an endless controversy on a deli-
cate affair and to this I am opposed. In view of these facts
and the fact that I have apologized to the French-Canadian
people, I must beg you to excuse me from further treatment
of the matter. I am returning to you your long letter and
the documents that you sent.
Thanking you once again for your courtesy, I am,
R. H. TIERNEY.
R. H. Tierney, S. J.,
A Protest and an Apology
To the Editor of "America:"
In the issue of your paper for October 11, 1924, there is
an article on the "Making of Americans," in which the author
cites from the "World's Work.'' In the course of the quota-
tion, the French-Canadians are spoken of as the "Chinese of
the Eastern States."
Though we all know how easy it is for a busy editor to
miss an expression that may be considered offensive to a
reader or readers, yet in view of your unfailing courtesy to
people of all races, we feel we should call your attention to
anything in your pages that may prove offensive to others.
Worcester, Mass. A. T.
[We thank our correspondent for his gracious note, and
herewith apologize to our French-Canadian people for the
oversight of which we have been guilty. The expression is
undoubtedly unfortunate and would have been deleted had
not an "editor's devil" sat heavy on our eyelids. — Ed. Amer-
Mr. Favreau's communication was as follows:
To the Editor of AMERICA :
Inasmuch as one of your contributors has recently seen
fit to quote — and apparently fully subscribe to — a statement
contained in an article by one Robert C. Dexter which ap-
peared in the August World's Work, it may not be amiss to
recall, for the benefit of your readers, the circumstances un-
der which the opprobrious epithet "Chinese of the East"
was first bestowed upon the French Canadians living in the
In quoting Mr. Dexter, your contributor omitted to
state, presumably through ignorance of the fact, that the
language (1) which he attributes to Mr. Dexter was not
original with that writer, but was taken verbatim from the
Twelfth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bureau of
Statistics of Labor published in 1881 (more than forty years
ago!), of which Bureau Mr. Carroll D. Wright was then
The following year (1882), in submitting his thirteenth
annual report to the Legislature of Massachusetts, Mr.
Wright, under the caption "The Canadian French in New
England," devotes 92 pages to an exhaustive account of the
hearing which he had deemed it wise to grant the French
Canadians, who had strenuously resented the statements con-
tained in his previous report, and which statements, for rea-
sons best known to himself, Mr. Dexter, in this year of grace
1924, has resurrected after two generations the better to vi-
talize a la Frankestein the now popular post-war bogy of
Mr. Wright's report, boiled down to its simplest expres-
"The statements met the earnest and patriotic condemna-
tion of the Canadian French of New England; and the French
residents of Lowell and Hudson in Massachusetts passed series
of resolutions on the subject, and sent them to the legislature
during its session of 1881. These resolutions, by concurrent
vote, were referred without other action to this Bureau."
(1) The Making of Americans. — Anthony M. Denedik, D. D.
"The Canadian French (ccmplains Robert C. Dexter in the World's
Work) are the Chinese of the Eastern States. They care nothing for
our institutions, civil, political, or educational. They do not come to
make a home among us, to dwell with us as citizens, and so become a
part of us; but their purpose is merely to sojourn a few years as aliens,
touching us only at a single point, that of work, and when they have
gathered out of us what will satisfy their ends, to get away whence
they came and bestow it there."
After quoting these resolutions in full, — and if space
permitted they would make interesting reading even at this
late date, — Mr. Wright continues:
"The legislature, in referring these vigorous resolutions to
this office, did not indicate any action regarding them; and if
the statements which were so strongly condemned had been
made in any spirit of captiousness, or in malice, or through any
prejudice against the French Canadians, we should have con-
tented ourselves by simply printing the protests. The state-
ments in the last re'port having been made in good faith, and as
the results of the observations of, and statements made to,
our agents, we thought it but fair to all parties that the French
should have a full and free opportunity to present such testi-
mony as they might have showing their progress in the United
States; and consequently a hearing was announced for Oct. 25,
1881, to which all persons interested were invited."
"In accordance with this invitation, some sixty representative
French Canadian gentlemen attended and offered their protests and
their evidence which appear in the following full stenographic
Report of the Hearing
"Mr. Wright, Chief of the Bureau, .presiding, opened the hearing
"Gentlemen, — The Legislature of Massachusetts, by Chap.
29, Resolves of 1880, directed this bureau to make an investiga-
tion in the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island and Connecticut, relative to "a uniform system of
laws, to regulate the hours of labor in the States mentioned,
and to present the results of its investigations to the legislature
in its next annual report."
The investigation was made, and the results reported in
the Twelfth Annual Report of this Bureau.
Among the objections given by many manufacturers and
operatives, in the States where no ten-hour system existed, was
the presence of the French Canadians; and the reasons given
by parties why the French were an obstacle to the extension
of the system were presented in said report.
These reasons, as well as all other results of the investiga-
tion, were reported; and the officers of the Bureau would
have been derelict in their duties, and would have disobeyed
the positive commands of the legislature, had these reasons
not been reported.
"The moment the Bureau, either through fear of offending
any party or race, or through desire to favor any party or race,
suppresses facts or evidence given it in the legitimate course
of an investigation, or introduces statements of its own inven-
tion, and reports such for facts, whatever usefulness it may
have will be gone, and the officers so prostituting the priv-
ileges of the Bureau should meet the very severest condemna-
tion the public can bestow.
"The reasons given by parties why the presence of the
French Canadians in factory towns is an obstacle to the exten-
sion of the ten-hour system have offended the French; and they
have expressed their disapprobation of such reasons by resolu-
tions, which have been presented to the legislature, and by the
legislature referred to the Bureau of Statistics.
"Many bodies of the French, in convention, have passed
very severe strictures upon the statements of the report and,
what is to be regretted, have not confined themselves to deny-
ing the truth of the reasons reported, but have seen fit to ac-
cuse the officers of the Bureau personally, of issuing calumnious
statements. I do not know as I can blame the French for
being exasperated; the only fault, however, I can plead guilty
to in regard to the report in question, as it relates to the
French, is that it was not stated fully enough, perhaps, that
the evidence which offends did not relate to Massachusetts at
all, and that it was not explicit enough in stating the localities
to which the evidence applied. We were discussing the reasons
against the extension of the ten-hour system; and such reasons
could not apply to Massachusetts, because the ten-hour system
existed here already.
"The legislature has not indicated any way in which the
resolutions referred to the Bureau should be treated; but I have
thought it only fair and honorable to invite you to this hearing,
that you may not only protest against the statements of the
report, but that you may introduce such evidence as you may
have relative to the progress of your race."
The following 78 pages contain the full stenographic re-
port of the evidence and statistics submitted by the inter-
ested parties, after which Mr. Wright sums up as follows :
"But little need be said in addition to the remarks made at
the hearing. We have presented the evidence in full, except
where condensed by the authors in the revision of their re-
spective statements. We have taken pains to learn if any
malice existed ia the minds of the informants of the Bureait
against the French, and are perfectly satisfied that no malice
entered into the case; our informants thought, and still think,
they were speaking the truth generally, but freely admit that
their statements were too sweeping. It is evident, however, that
some prejudice existed in their minds, for they but echoed the
impressions existing in the minds of the people; and these im-
pressions were the legitimate results of the policy and actions
of certain classes of the French, as will be seen, but which were
allowed to apply to the race.
"The reports made to the Bureau came from localities
where the French Canadians are not well organized, where
they too often live in a way that subjects them to severe crit-
icisms, and where, from a variety of causes, they have been ac-
customed to change their residence with a frequency which
usually led people to think of them as a roving race. It has
been with them as with all peoples of strongly marked char-
acteristics : the worst and lowest specimens have been taken as
representatives of the race.
"Before and since the hearing we have received a great
many written and verbal statements to the effect that the parts
of the Twelfth Annual Report relating to the French were per-
fectly true. In fact, we have not met a single Canadian gen-
tleman who has denied the truth of the report, if it were made
the exception and not the rule, and if the term "Chinese of the
East'' be left out. It is only fair, however, to state briefly how
the whole question appears to us.
"Ten years ago but few French Canadians had come to our
factory towns. Prior to that, the brickmaker, the wood chop-
per, and the border farmer gave whatever impression the pub-
lic mind received. When immigration began in earnest, and
thousands of operatives came over the line, they came, as a
rule, with not only the exhortation of the French Catholic
priest of Canada to return when they acquired some means, but
with their own promise to the priest that they would return.
The whole influence of the Church in Canada was, and is, exert-
ed in favor of return to Canada. Later on, the Canadian gov-
ernment established paid agencies in the United States, to aid
in returning Canadians to their old homes.
"This movement was fostered by the leading French Can-
adians living here, and has been advocated by the French press
of New England except "Le Republicain;" even since the last
report of the Bureau was published.
"Many, however, came here from Canada with faint or little
desire to return. Such settled at once to the business of life,
and have become not only interested in our institutions, but
have taken part in maintaining them. The idea of the new-
comers being migratory arose not from them but from the class
which came with the promise and the determination to return,
and from their reiterated statements that they should return.
And the great number who did actually return convinced many
persons that they came simply to gain what they could, but
not to become part of the American people.
"Soon another influence began to be felt. The French
Canadian loves his church, and is loyal to it. If living in a
small out-of-the-way place, he would soon remove with his
compatriots, and when sufficient numbers had gathered, the
church was organized and became the central power, or in-
fluence. The priest coming from Canada, it may be on mis-
sionary work, to take charge of the growing parish, soon found
himself permanently established in New England and his nat-
ural desire was to see his flock grow and prosper. Thus re-
patriation stood in the way of the growth of the French Catholic
Church in New England, and one or the other must be aban-
doned. Many Canadians returned, and are returning to Can-
ada; but they find themselves more attached to the new than
to the old; for, as Professor Cyr remarked in his evidence,
things do not look as they did when they were young. So they
again turn their faces this way, and seek permanent abodes.
"The efforts of the Canadian government have been almost
without success, and with strong French churches established
in New England repatriation is a failure; but still very recent-
ly, it has been loudly advocated in very many quarters as the
best of patriotism. The doctrine has done much, and the
most, in fact, towards fixing the impression in the minds of
New England people that the French cared nothing whatever
for the welfare of the country, but only sought personal gain at
the expense of home industry.
"The employers of labor have done much to stimulate
French immigration; almost without exception, the mill man-
agers, whatever they have to say about the traits of the Can-*
adians, prefer them in their mills; for they are industrious in
the extreme, do not grumble about pay, are docile, and have
nothing to do with labor agitations. While in these direc-
tions they have won the regard of employers, they have in-/
curred the animosity of labor reformers.
"Another source of the prevailing impression that the
French were unfriendly to New England ideas is found in the
establishment of parochial schools. However much the effort
of the French to educate their children in these institutions
may be applauded, the parochial school will always excite hos-
tility on the part of the native. Whether they are foreign to
our ways, or inimical to our institutions, are not questions for
discussion at this time. We only state the fact that their
establishment by members of any race will always raise sus-
picion in the American mind as to the sincerity of professions
of loyalty to our government on the part of the founders.
"The fact should be recorded that our French population is
being schooled in our public and their parochial schools to an
extent not realized a very short time ago, and to a much great-
er degree than the public is, even now, aware of.
"Besides these causes there exist localities of French pop-
ulation that make the intelligent French Canadian blush, and
that are disgraceful to the cities which permit the prevailing
The same might be said, with equal truth, of other races.
These localities are heard of more frequently than those of
good order and good conditions.
"All these things are clearly indicated and shown by the
evidence given at the hearing, and are fully substantiated by
all with whom we have consulted, whether Canadians or Amer-
"With regard to naturalization, while the French are not
naturalizing as rapidly as some other foreign elements, yet,
considering the obstacle of language, they are now doing well.
The nationality of our voting population is discussed elsewhere.
The statistics given at the hearing give evidence of increasing
interest in that direction. The fact that the French Canadian
population has increased so rapidly only proves that more
come than return, while the statistics of property show that
permanency is becoming the rule. This, of course, is strong-
ly shown in the building of churches, the establishment of
schools, societies, literary associations, etc.
"Now, while it would have been very easy to have combat-
ed the evidence given at the hearing, and to have introduced
much testimony to support the statements contained in the re-
port of last year, and while we see .no reason to strike out the
statements therein made when read in the light of the present
report, it is very gratifying to know that a wide and rapidly
growing movement has arisen among the French Canadians
within the past few years, towards becoming citizens, fully
identified with us as a permanent and honorable part of our
people; and in their every endeavor in this direction Americans
can but wish them God-speed. Partly as a result of this move-
ment, efforts for repatriation have been abandoned, and it is
now the settled policy of the Canadian French, who come among
us, to come as permanent residents, and to be Americans.
Although this movement is recent, yet it is accompanied by
such laudable endeavors to acquire a knowledge of our institu-
tions, and to take active and intelligent part in our national
life, that doubtless our best wishes concerning them will be
realized. The action of every French Canadian convention
which we have noted leans strongly in this direction. With
such aspirations and purposes as were manifested at the hear-
ing, complete assimilation with the American people is but a
question of time. It was the desire to make known these
aspirations and purposes, and a disposition to treat all parties
fairly, which induced the Bureau to give the hearing; the same
reasons warranted the use of so much of the space of this re-
port. The prosperity of New England demands the rapid
progress of all her industrial forces, and of these the French
Canadian element is certainly one of the most important."
Had not Mr. Dexter undertaken to give new life to the
aspersions cast upon the French Canadians more than forty
years ago, and incidentally imposed upon the good faith of
your contributor, it might seem idle to again attempt a refu-
tation of the unjust and unfair statements quoted in your is-
sue of October 11th.
However, it is a matter not without interest to record
that at a later date, in 1907, the same Mr. Wright — then pres-
ident of Clark University at Worcester after having been
for twenty years the United States Commissioner of Labor
and having acted as director of the 1900 Federal Census —
expressed himself as follows, in acknowledging the receipt of
a copy of a paper read before the Worcester Society of Anti-
quity by Mr. Alexandre Belisle on "The French Canadians in
the Development of the United States:"
"I have found in the course of my investigations that no
"other nationality has developed as rapidly and in as satisfac-
tory a manner, on coming to this country, as the French Can-
adians, and I am convinced that they have had a great deal
"to do with the development of our country. (2)
"Yours very sincerely,
"CARROLL D. WRIGHT."
Moreover, Mr. Horace G. Wadlin, recently Librarian at
the Boston Public Library, who was an assistant to Mr.
Wright at the time above referred to, (1882) and was later
(2) Histoire de la presse franco-americaine par Alexandre Belisle,
on chief of the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor,
wrote as follows to the Boston Herald soon after the publica-
tion of the Dexter article (3) :
"The unfortunate and unjustifiable remark which bracket-
ed the French Canadians in New England with the Chinese ap-
peared not recently, but approximately 40 years ago in a report
issued by the then existing Massachusetts Bureau of Labor
(now abolished as a separate department), not as an official
conclusion of the bureau, but, if memory serves, as a summary
of merely personal opinion attributed to some of those who ex-
pressed themselves to agents of the bureau in an investigation
concerning textile factory conditions in this state.
"This was some years prior to my own controlling con-
nection with the department and I have no documents at hand,
but, naturally the aspersion was resented, and in simple justice
to a worthy element in our industrial population, the bureau
consequently conducted an impartial investigation upon the
special point in controversy, with the result that the imputa-
tion upon the economic status of the French Canadians here
was completely removed.
"Indeed, the remark itself at the time reflected only a cer-
tain existing racial prejudice between conflicting elements in
some of our mill towns, rather than any real economic condi-
tion. No general feeling against the French existed or was
justified then, and a good deal of water i.as run under the bridge
"The French Canadian in New England has, after a gen-
aration, established his own social and religious centres here;
he has become firmly knit into our civic life. It is a pity that
anybody, however unwittingly, should stir the ashes of an old
controversy. The status of the French Canadian in New Eng-
land is not open to adverse criticism, and nobody who knows
the facts impugns it.
"HORACE G. WADLIN."
"Boston, Aug. 21."
In conclusion, if your contributor still harbors the delu-
sion that Mr. Dexter's complaint
"is only too frequently true, not only in the case of French
"Canadians, but also with those of other races. And some-
times the clergy who have care of them are, at least in part,
"to blame by emphasizing and encouraging their national ten-
dencies. . ."
(3) Mr. Wadlin's letter to the Boston Herald was in answer to a
communication sent to that paper by Raoul H. Beaudreau, Esq., (former
District Attorney for Middlesex County) vigorously protesting against
the Dexter article as commented upon by the Montreal Star in an article
reproduced by the Herald.
he should read a communication which appeared anonymously
in the Norwich (Connecticut) Bulletin on August 5th last
and which follows in part (4) :
"No French Canadian has sollicited the comment to fol-
low here. It is entirely gratuitous. It is written out of the
experience of many years of intimate association with them,
after the good part of a lifetime of close intimacy with their
ideas, their ideals and their general viewpoint of life. In a
word, the article is a rank slander on a people who have done
more to develop Eastern Connecticut in the past half century
than any other racial group that can be named out of memory.
It is an inexcusable offense against a people that furnished
more soldiers and sailors for the World War out of this terri-i
tory — a host of them as volunteers — than any other racial
group, including those <vho reserve for themselves the dis-
tinction of being called "real" Americans. The French Cana-
dians may have their faults — and the racial groups of the
United States who have not are not of record — but calling them
Fifty-Fifty Americans is untrue, unjust and unfair.
"French Canadians have been severely criticised for years
past because of their insistence that knowledge of the French
language be a paramount consideration with them in the
United States. There is little justice in that criticism. Any
citizen who knows two languages is better equipped to meet
the needs of life than a citizen who knows only one. If the
French Canadians have been at all in error in this matter of
bilingual efficiency, it has been in insisting that people who do
not know the French language use it in conversing with them,
when, on their part, English was not a barrier to conversation.
Such occasions, however, are rare.
"The implication in the article referred to that French
Canadians come into the United States not with the idea of
becoming permanent residents and citizens, but with the hope
that they will accumulate enough money here to return to a
Canadian farm and live a life of comparative ease and comfort,
as a hard worker might view life, is libelous of a race.
"He who has the time can find no more convincing refuta-
tion of this than is to be found in the assessors' records of the
town of Killingly. French Canadians have acquired more
property of a residential and business nature, built more prop-
erty of the same kind and developed them more than any other
group of people who make up the cosmopolitan population of
this town. Starting from zero, a half century ago, they have
worked and saved and accumulated more in essential values
than any other groups of people who have labored with them.
Their record in Killingly and all other sections of Eastern Con-
(4) Since the above was written, information has come to the
writer that the author of this communication is Mr. Edward A. Sullivan,
a member of the regular staff of the Norwich Bulletin, who, for some
years past, has been covering Eastern Connecticut for the Bulletin.
necticut — cannot be successfully challenged. They have been
a hard-working, prudent, peaceful people. Their children and
their children's children are among the most desirable citizens,
especially when danger threatens the nation. They are Amer-
icans, and good ones. If Robert Cloutman Dexter, high-paid
writer that he probably is, dealt more with facts than fancies
when he assails the French Canadians he would at once offer
a public apology for the false impressions he has set up against
them and set out to learn something of their thrift and what
they have done for this nation, as good citizens, before ever
venturing again to attack them and attribute what he regards
as their frailities to the fact that they are members of the old-
est Christian denomination in the world.
"While not a French Canadian, the writer pays this trib-
ute to a great people out of a sense of justice."
Et nunc erudimini!
J. ARTHUR FAVREAU,
Secretary, Societe historique
Boston, October 27.
Although the scope of this pamphlet does not permit of
an extended account of the hearing conducted by Colonel
Wright as a result of the protests which his Twelfth Annual
Report had elicited, it has been deemed advisable, in order to
complete the record, to reprint the resolutions from the
French Canadians of Lowell to which Mr. Wright refers in
his report of the hearing.
Lowell, Mass., May 1881.
Hon. Charles J. Noyes,
Speaker of the House of Representatives: —
Sir, — The "Society St. Jean Baptistp de Lowell, Mass.," a
national and benevolent society of the Canadian French of Low-
ell, organized in 1869 and incorporated in 1870, according to
the laws of the Commonwealth, at a regular meeting held May
4 t 1881, unanimously adopted the following resolutions: —
Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor,
in his twelfth Annual Report to the Hon. Charles J. Noyes,
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Common-
wealth, denounced the presence of the Canadian French as an
objection to the system of ten hours' labor, calling them the
"Chinese of the East; a horde of industrial invaders; a deceit-
ful people who seek their amusements in drinking, smoking,
and lounging." etc., etc., — it is
RESOLVED, That we deny each and every accusation
contained in said report, and that we protest most energetically
against these insinuations made against the French Canadians
of the Eastern States.
RESOLVED, That it is the duty of all and every French
Canadian in New England to strongly protest against this re-
port so far as it concerns them.
RESOLVED, That a copy of these presents be submitted
to the legislature of the Commonwealth, with our prayers to
J. W. PARADIS. President.
J. H. GUILLET, Secretary.
A true copy of the record —
Attest: J. H. GUILLET, Secretary.
Lowell, May 1881.
Hon. Charles J. Noyes,
Speaker of the House of Representatives: —
Sir, — The French Canadians of Lowell, feeling aggrieved
at the report of Col. Carroll D. Wright, Chief of the Bureau of
Statistics of Labor, assembled at a mass-meeting, May 5, 1881,
and passed the following resolutions which they humbly pre-
sent for your consideration: —
Whereas, Lowell is the greatest manufacturing dis-
trict of the Eastern States, and the number of French Can-
adians is much greater than in any other centre in New Eng-
Whereas, We recognize unanimously the wisdom of
the ten-hour system, —
RESOLVED, That we protest, energetically against this
portion of the report of the Bureau of Statistics, as being en-
tirely groundless; and
Whereas, For the past fifteen years, agents of the manu-
facturers have been sent to Canada to solicit its inhabitants
to come to the States, promising them good places and good
Whereas, By repeated invitations this class of population
has come to this section to live in this land of liberty; and
Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics in his re-
port called them "The Chinese of the East": it is
RESOLVED, That we deny with indignation the epithet,
and protest strongly against this portion of the report as being
injurious to our race.
Whereas, We, Canadian French of New England are yet,
for the most part, ignorant of the English language and the
habits and customs of this country, we recognize the high wis-
dom of the institutions, —
RESOLVED, That we protest the part of the report
which says that "we do not care for the institutions — civil, pol-
itical, or educational — in this country."
Whereas, Since the French Canadians have come to this
section they have reached a population of four hundred thou-
sand in New England: and whereas a large number have be-
come proprietors, paying large taxes: and whereas for the most
part the young men propose to make their home here, —
RESOLVED, That we protest against the portion of the
report which says that we "are a horde of industrial invaders."
Whereas, We have to live five years in the country be-
fore we can become citizens of this glorious Republic, and the
French Canadians have been here in large numbers but five or
six years, there are over two hundred voters of this class in
Lowell alone, —
RESOLVED, That we protest with energy against the
portion of the report which says that "voting, with all that it
implies, they care nothing about, nor rarely does one of them
Whereas, We recognize the necessity of sending our
children to school, having done so continually, petitioning the
city of Lowell to find schoolrooms for our children, —
RESOLVED, That we protest strongly against the por-
tion of the report which says "that they will not send their
children to school if they can help it, and that they deceive
also about their schooling with brazen effrontery."
RESOLVED, That whereas the French Canadians of
Lowell have established two national benevolent societies, two
literary societies which give literary and dramatic representa-
tions twice a month, a band that gives occasional public con-
certs, and three societies for children, furnishing them with
proper amusements; and
Whereas, In our population, which is above ten thousand
in Lowell, the average found guilty of intoxication before the
police court of Lowell is not over twelve per annum; it is
RESOLVED, That we protest strongly against the por-
tion of the report which says that "drinking and smoking and
lounging are the sum of their amusements."
J. H. GUILLET, President.
E. H. King, Secretary.
A true copy —
Attest: E. H. King, Secretary.
Lowell, May 1881.
Hon. Charles J. Noyes,
Speaker of the House of Representatives: —
Sir,— "L'Association des Jeunes Gens Catholiques," a lit-
erary society of Lowell, Mass., organized in 1878, at a meeting
held May 4, 1881, adopted unanimously the following
Whereas, Col. Carroll D. Wright, Chief of the Bureau of
Statistics of Labor, in his report to Hon. Charles J. Noyes,
Speaker of the House of Representatives, has most unjustly
and injuriously treated the French Canadian population of the
Eastern States: It is
RESOLVED, That we protest most energetically against
each and every allegation, contained in the said report, having
a tendency to injure in any way the good standing of the
French Canadian nationality.
JEAN G. C6TE,
H. Constantineau, Jun.,
A true copy —
Attest: H. Constantineau, Jun.,
We earnestly request that the above resolution be trans-
mitted to the legislature for their early consideration.
A. J. G. C.
H. Constantineau, Jun.,
The hearing was conducted on behalf of the French Cana-
dians by Hugo A. Dubuque of Fall River (now a justice of the
Superior Court of Massachusetts). After his opening statement,
Mr. Dubuque called upon the following gentlemen to present
either evidence or statistics concerning the social and moral
condition of the French in New York, in New Hampshire, in
Connecticut, in Maine and in Massachusetts: Ferdinand Ga-
gnon, editor of "Le Travailleui 4 " of Worcester; Rev. J. B. H.
Millet, of Nashua, N. H. ; Charles Lalime of Worcester, agent
of the Canadian Government for the New England States; Rev.
P.J. P. Bedard of Fall River; Hon. S.N. Aldrich, ex-senator from
Marlborough, Massachusetts; Hon. Charles Q. Tirrell, then sen-
ator for the district including the town of Marlborough; Tim-
othy A. Coolidge, manufacturer of shoes in Marlborough; J.
Henri Guillet of Lowell, (the founder and first president of the
Society historique franco-americaine) ; J. D. Montmarquet,
editor of "Le Messager" of Lewiston, Maine; Professor N.
Cyr, editor of "Le Republicain" of Boston; Edward J. L. He-
rault, justice of the peace of Fall River; L. E. Boudreau, editor
of "L'Echo des Canadiens" of Manchester, N. H.; F. C. Mi-
ville of Manchester; Joseph Bouvier of Woonsocket, R. I.; J. M.
Authier, editor of "La Nouvelle Patrie'T of Cohoes, N. Y.; J.
E. Marier of Lawrence; Dr. Marc Fontaine of Spencer, Mass.
It does not appear from the stenographic report of the hearing
that a single person appeared in support of the derogatory sta-
tements contained in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau
of Statistics of Labor.
In closing, Mr. Dubuque expressed himself in part as
"But before I close, I would say that I think we have proved
by overwhelming evidence that the statements contained in
this report are groundless. We have not proved that they are
malicious, but we deduce from the fact that they are false, that
they have been presented to you from a malicious spirit or in
a spirit which is just as sordid and despicable, — undoubtedly
by interested parties. Now, of course, the greatest objection
which we have against the report is this, gentlemen of this
Bureau, that it singles out the French people in preference to
the Irish or the English. What is contained on page 469 and
page 470 of this report, gentlemen of this Bureau, could be said
of the English element, could be said of the Irish element,
could be said of the Portuguese element, could be said of all
the elements of society, even of the native Americans, — some
of them. What you have said here might apply to a very few
exceptions, but it does not apply to the French people as a
whole. It does not apply to the majority of the French people,
the vast majority of them. It does not apply to the men who
have come before you, and it does not apply, I say, to the vast
majority of the French people not only of Massachusetts, but
of New England. I think you are satisfied now, after this
hearing, gentlemen, that all we want here to-day, all we ask, is
simple justice. We think we have had it, and we thank you for
granting us an impartial hearing. We think that you have
shown a disposition to be fair, and to give us what is called
in common parlance "fair play," and that is all we asked,
gentlemen, and for that we are thankful to you.
"But another great objection we had against this report
was this. We would not have been so much touched by the re-
port if it had been contained simply in a newspaper, because
there we could answer it. If it had been in "The Boston Her-
ald," if it had been in "The Boston Journal," or in any of the
great newspapers of this country, we could have answered
it. But here how could we answer it? Here is a document
which will remain forever, as long as the State House stands,
— in the archives of this Commonwealth. It will be out of this
material, as I said in the beginning, that the history of the
French people of this Commonwealth will be written. When
the social student will come here to study the progress of the
people, of this Commonwealth, and of the New England States,
he will come to this source of information, he will see these
statistics collected here, and moreover, he will see that no other
nationality is mentioned here but the French Canadians. He
will see that they are brought, as it were, as the great oppo-
sition to the advancement of the working classes. He will
think, at first, by reading this, that they were a great obstacle
to the social and moral progress of the people of this Com-
monwealth. But I hope, gentlemen of this Bureau, that in the
next report there will be such an overwhelming refutation,
such a satisfactory refutation, based upon the facts as we have
presented them to you, that, even if an injustice has been done
to us, justice at last will prevail.
io us OS
i-H CO CO
■* Oi CM"
Under the caption "French Catholics in the United
States," the Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. VI, pp. 271-277),
published in 1909, contains an article which should be of il-
luminating interest to any open-minded reader of Mr. Dex-
ter's fantastic tissue of half-truths and gross exaggerations.
The concluding paragraphs of this article follow in part:
"To sum up, the record of the French Americans in their'
new country has been such that prominent men of native origin,
. writers and politicians of note, have sung their praise on more
than one occasion. In this respect, one will readily remem-
ber the homage paid them upon different occasions by the late
Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, as well as the marks of high
esteem shown them by governors and members of Congress.
As recently as 20 March, 1908, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, of
Massachusetts, speaking on "Immigration" before the Boston
City Club, made the following statement:
"Later than any of these (movements of immigration), was
the immigration of French Canadians, but which has assumed
large proportions, and has become a strong and most valuable
element of our population. But the French of Canada scarcely
come within the subject we are considering, because they are
hardly to be classed as immigrants in the accepted sense.
They represent one of the oldest settlements on this continent.
They have been, in the broad sense, Americans for genera-
tions, and their coming to the United States is merely a move-
ment of Americans across an imaginary line, from one part of
America to another."
Following the same line of thought, Governor Channing
H. Cox of Massachusetts, speaking at the celebration of the
fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Societe St. Jean-
Baptiste of Holyoke, Massachusetts, June 24th, 1922, ex-
pressed himself as follows :
"The French-Canadians began to come to this country be-
fore the Revolution. They were in the army of General
Washington, and at the time of the Civil War 40,000 men of
French descent joined in the preservation of the Union. In
the recent war the contribution of French-Americans is gen-
erally known and it was particularly creditable here in Massa-
chusetts. A large number of the brave men of the 104th Regi-
ment of the 26th Division were French, and when one reads
the record of enlistments from many of our cities and towns,
he is deeply impressed with the large number of French who
joined the colors.
"It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 French
people in Massachusetts today, and more than 800,000 in the
New England States. They have been the pillar of New Eng-
land industries and they have become prominent in every line
of business, as indeed they are leaders in all our public under-
takings. It must be a source of gratification to you to realize
that French-Americans have sat in the United States Senate,
and in Congress; they have also served in the Diplomatic
Service. This year there are nine French-American members
of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. We recall
the recent conspicuous service rendered to the neighboring
State of Rhode Island by its distinguished Governor, Honorable
Aram J. Pothier. It has been my good fortune as Governor of
Massachusetts to co-operate with the State of Rhode Island,
and I have come to have a warm regard and sincere admira-
tion for its present worthy Governor, Honorable Emery J. San
Soucy. Here in Massachusetts distinguished French-Ameri-
cans could be recalled without number. One of our able
Judges of the Superior Court is Honorable Hugo A. Dubuque.
In our cities there have been Mayors, and in every way French-
Americans have occupied positions of leadership and responsi-
bility. Significant of such service is the record of Pierre
Bonvouloir, for thirty years City Treasurer of Holyoke, and held
in universal esteem and love by the people of this city. The
French press of the Commonwealth has been a powerful in-
fluence in moulding public opinion. Wherever the French-
Americans have made their homes they have not dwelt apart,
but have become identified with the community. It has been
an easy step for them to move from one part of America to an-
other, and as we look back over their record of brilliant
achievements in Massachusetts, we can truthfully say that they
have made a large and lasting contribution to the general wel-
fare and to the stability of our institutions, and to the cause of
progressive good government."
As Lieutenant Governor and later Governor of Massa-
chusetts, President Coolidge. as well as his successor Gover-
nor Cox, had ample opportunity to judge of the loyalty and
patriotism of the French-Americans now living in the New
Speaking at Fall River, September 4, 1916, on the occa-
sion of the dedication of a monument in honor of Lafayette,
Mr. Coolidge, then Lieutenant Governor, said :
"I love to think of his connection with our history. I love
to think of him at the dedication of the Bunker Hill Monu-
ment receiving the approbation of the Nation from the lips of
Daniel Webster. I love to think of the long line of American
citizens of French blood in our Commonwealth today, ready
to defend the principles he fought for, "Liberty under the Law,"
citizens who, like him, look not with apology, but with respect
and approval and admiration on that sentiment inscribed on the
white flag of Massachusetts, "Ense petit placidam sub liber-
tate quietem" (With a sword she seeks secure peace under
As recently as September, 1923, in a telegram to the
members of L'Ordre des Forestiers Franco-Americains, ga-
thered in convention at Westbrook, Maine, the President saw
fit to voice the following sentiments :
"The White House, Washington, D. C.
"F. F. A., Westbrook, Me.:
"Please express to the convention my sincere thanks for
their message of encouragement and support. I know the mem-
bers of your organization and our French American citizens
throughout New England can always be counted upon to uphold
the fundamental principles of our government, and that in loy-
alty and patriotism they yield to none.
President of the U. S."
In 1916 the four leading French-speaking fraternal
societies having their headquarters in New England (L'U-
nion St-Jean-Baptiste d'Amerique, l'Association Canado-
Americaine, L'Ordre des Forestiers Franco-Americains, and
La Societe Jacques Cartier) formed a central organization
under the name of the Franco-American Catholic Federation,
"for the purpose of promoting the religious, social and eco-
nomic interests of the French-Americans." One of the ob-
jects of the Federation as formulated in its by-laws, is "to
study social questions in order to direct the French-Ameri-
cans in the right path and to teach them the duties which
they owe to civil and religious authority, to their adopted
land these United States, and to their homes."
At its second annual congress, held in Worcester, Massa-
chusetts, February 25, 1919, the Federation — whose member-
ship now exceeds 80,000 and whose pronouncements may
therefore be fairly considered as representing the present
consensus of opinion of the French-Americans — put itself
squarely on record in a set of resolutions regarding the prob-
lem of americanization and the use of the mother tongue.
These resolutions, as quoted and commented upon by the
late Frank V. Thompson, then Superintendent of the Boston
Public Schools, in The Schooling of the Immigrant, published
in 1920, — it being the first volume in the series of eleven
Americanization studies prepared through the initiative of
the Carnegie Corporation of New York, — were as follows:
"1. The Franco-American Catholic Federation admits
that a knowledge of the English language promotes a closer
political, social and economic union among the various groups
which make up the American- nation;
"2. The Franco-American Catholic Federation does not ad-
mit that this union requires the abandonment of the mother
tongue and of the racial qualities of these groups;
"3. The Franco-American Catholic Federation even main-
tains that the preservation of the mother tongue and of the
racial qualities of these groups can be useful for their intel-
lectual and moral culture and also for civic and economic
"4. In consequence, the Franco-American Catholic Fed-
eration puts itself on record against all attempts to suppress
or restrict the use or the teaching of languages other than
English either in the home, in the school, or in the press;
"5. The Franco-American Catholic Federation exhorts its
members to employ all the legitimate means at their command
to prevent the so-called Americanization plan from being
diverted from its reasonable ends;
"6. The Franco-American Catholic Federation suggests as
practical means of action: (a) the use of the influence of
Franco-American leaders and groups to persuade industrial and
political leaders to support the principles above set forth;
(b). to recommend to those of our compatriots who have not
a sufficient knowledge of English to complete their knowledge
of that language by attending special classes being organized
for that purpose.
The congress further declared its attitude on citizenship:
"1. The present congress of the Franco- American Catholic
Federation, following the example of so many previous con-
gresses, urgently recommends the organization of permanent
committees on naturalization bv all French-American societies
which have not already organized these committees;
"2. The Franco-American Catholic Federation urges all
French-Americans who are citizens, either by birth or by nat-
uralization, not to fail to register for voting and to exercise
their franchise at each and every election.
"This statement of position is illuminating as indicative
of the attitude of one large and influential foreign-language
group in New England. This attitude is typical of many of
our foreign-born peoples, and from the position of the author
of this study is natural and, as expressed, not antagonistic to
sound Americanism. While desirous of meeting the reason-
able standards of the land of their adoption, these groups
wish to preserve in some degree their native language and
national culture. They do not challenge the state for its in-
sistence on English as the medium of instruction in the schools,
but they protest against prohibition at the same time of the
teaching of their mother tongue. The resolutions encourage
naturalization and the exercise of the franchise.
"We must be tolerant of the fact that these newer Ameri-
cans cannot abandon at once the old ties of racial and national
culture. Racial obliteration cannot take place in one genera-
tion; there are no instances in history of any such sudden
transformation. Americans of many generations still take
pride in their Scotch, Welsh, or English ancestry and they are
no less patriotic on that account. Robert Louis Stevenson,
speaking of the attitude of the Scotch in his day toward Eng-
land, says that the Scotchman even yet thinks with a Scotch
(5) The Schooling of the Immigrant, Frank V. Thomp-
son (Harper & Brothers, 1920)— pp. 135-137.